For the more information about the geologic resources of the National Park Service, please visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/geology/.


Inventory and Monitoring Programs

Fish monitoring at Golden Gate National Recreation Area (NPS photo).
Fish monitoring at Golden Gate National Recreation Area (NPS photo).

The NPS Geologic Resources Inventory and Monitoring Program documents the status and trends of natural resources on park lands. The NPS collects 12 basic natural resource inventories at each park that range from air quality data to geologic inventories to species lists. The collection of baseline data and initiation of long-term monitoring programs provide park managers with the information needed to effectively manage park natural resources. Information on a few of the inventory and monitoring programs active in coastal parks is provided below.


The Geologic Resources Inventory

The Geologic Resources Inventory (GRI) program is working to evaluate the geologic resources of all National Park units designated as having significant natural resources. This includes all of the 84 coastal park units! As part of this evaluation the geologic features (such as sand dunes and lava tubes) and the geologic processes (such as sediment transport, sea level rise, and shoreline change) are considered. The most exciting aspect of the GRI program is the generation of high quality digital geologic maps, which provide a new and exciting resource to coastal park managers.

Maps resulting from the GRI effort will include seamless coverage from offshore areas to onshore areas. The final mapping products will enable park managers to effectively monitor changes in coastal areas, and will aid in the understanding of geologic processes affecting coastal health and sustainability. Completed GRIs and digital geologic maps are available here.


Coastal Engineering Inventory

In cooperation with the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University, the NPS completed a reconnaissance-level investigation, analysis and inventory of coastal engineering projects for ten coastal national park units. The primary items that were inventoried included coastal structures, dredge and fill projects, beach nourishment, and dune construction projects.

The Coastal Engineering Inventory will help the NPS define the extent of human-altered coastal areas in the National Park System. This, in turn, will help the NPS understand its resources, establish baselines, develop desired future conditions, balance the protection of historic resources and infrastructure with the preservation of natural systems, and improve post-storm response. All of these actions will improve the ability of the NPS to manage coastal park units in accordance with NPS policies. The Coastal Engineering Inventory report is available through the NPS Natural Resource Information Portal.

Maps that show the engineering projects that have been completed in each park are available below in PDF format (Adobe Acrobat or Reader):


Geological Monitoring

Monitoring geological change is a key part of environmental monitoring in coastal parks. Monitoring involves taking repeated measurements over time to detect long-term change. Results from geologic monitoring can be used to determine how a landscape is changing and if necessary, what management actions are required to protect park resources. Two important physical parameters that are monitored in the coastal zone are shoreline change and sea level change.


Related Links

Last Updated: July 07, 2011